Tennessee Court Dismisses Car Case Filed Outside of the Statute of Limitations

There are several elements that must be met to successfully recover damages in a personal injury case. One factor that is very important but seldom considered by injured parties is the procedural requirements for filing a lawsuit. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee recently dismissed a case due to the plaintiff’s failure to file her lawsuit within the time required under the applicable statute of limitations. If you suffered harm in a Tennessee car accident, it is important to retain an experienced attorney who is mindful of the procedural requirements imposed by the law.

Procedural Background

Reportedly, the plaintiffs, a mother and daughter, who live in Virginia, were driving in Tennessee when they were involved in a motor vehicle collision with the defendant driver, a resident of Florida. The defendant driver was engaged in the course of his employment with an Alabama based employer. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit seeking damages for their injuries in a district court in Alabama, on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative to transfer, the case to the Eastern District Court of Tennessee, which is the court for the district where the accident occurred. The court granted the motion to transfer the case. The defendants then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the one-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims in Tennessee precluded the plaintiffs’ claim.

Choice of Law Rules

Initially, the court noted that when a federal case where jurisdiction is based on diversity is transferred from one district to another, the district court that receives the case will apply the choice of law rules of the state where the district court is located. Here, because federal jurisdiction was based on diversity, and the case was transferred to a Tennessee district court, the court was required to apply Tennessee choice of law rules. As such, the Tennessee statute of limitations for personal injury claims applied. The plaintiffs did not file the lawsuit within one year of the date of the accident, and therefore, the court found their claims were time-barred.

The plaintiffs did not dispute that their claim was precluded by the Tennessee statute of limitations but argued that the case was improperly transferred from the Alabama district court. The court stated that in a personal injury case, the laws of the state where the accident occurred delineate the rights and liabilities of the parties unless another state a more meaningful relationship with the incident or parties.  As the accident occurred in Tennessee, and the plaintiffs did not offer proof that Alabama had a more significant relationship to the incident or parties, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument. Based on the foregoing, the court granted the defendants’ motion, dismissing the plaintiffs’ claim.

Meet with a Knowledgeable Tennessee Car Accident Attorney

Statutes of limitations for filing a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a car accident vary from state to state. If you were involved in a car accident, it is vital to your pursuit of damages to retain a knowledgeable car accident attorney to file your case within the proper time and in the proper court. Eric Beasley is an experienced Tennessee car accident attorney who can assist you in seeking compensation from the party responsible for your harm. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, call us at 615-859-2223.

More Blog Posts:

Tennessee Court Clarifies Standard for Admitting an Expert ReportTennessee Personal Injury Blog, November 27, 2018.

Tennessee Car Accident Resulting in Wrongful Death Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, August 23, 2018.

Court of Appeals Imposes Sanctions for Failure to Comply with Independent Medical Evaluation Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, July 27, 2018.